This discreet salon in the heart of Central has got it right with its attention to detail

Style is all about making a statement, even if it is as discreet as a miniature piece of art on your hands. In recent years, we can’t help but notice more businesses getting into the nail art game – each salon going further with freehand painting, incredibly intricate patterns, and eyecatching designs that become genuine conversation starters.

Among these rising stars is Eighty Eight, a small and stylish nail bar in Central, opened by young entrepreneur Stephanie Shek. With its monochrome palette (sleek black and white interiors) punctuated by quirky frame prints (Disney princesses reimagined as modern-day hipsters; a stark illustration of Sailor Moon; surreal scenes from fairytales and nightmares), it’s a fun space that will keep your eyes busy while staff get to work on your talons.

Eighty Eight has a great team of conscientious young staff, who are as friendly as they come – upon arrival, you’re invited to perch comfortably and drinks are proferred, from iced teas to matcha lattes. Bowls of sweets are handily placed next to each chair, should you feel an impending sugar low during the course of your treatment.

Booking is possible through Whatsapp as well as by phone, and the former has the advantage in that we could send the salon inspiration photos of the kind of nail art we wanted done. I had chosen a vibrant, abstract painting by one of my favourite artists, Cy Twombly, and sent it off with fingers crossed. The answer was affirmative.

Kittie, my manicurist, was outstanding in her attentiveness and ability to interpret not only the painting I had presented her, but also asked a few questions about my own preferences and gave suggestions for colours to play with – and also gave a detailed rundown of the merits of doing the art with normal polish or gel.

Her deft work with tiny nail scissors to trim and groom my nails and cuticles was also impressive – not a single nick or discomfort was experienced. When it came to doing the Twombly-inspired nails, it was obvious that Kittie has a natural talent for art – in no time at all, she created five miniature masterpieces worthy of MoMA.

And how did it all hold up? The polish was remarkably thin and natural despite being gel, and yet stayed chip-free for more than two weeks. It was a definite shame when time came to remove the art, but I cannot wait until the next time I return to see what else the team is capable of creating.


EightyEight, 1/F, 53 Wellington Street, Central; +852 2350 9613 or whatsapp +852 5334 3124